‘Drunken’ Holiday Couple May Face Social Services Inquiry

A British couple whose three young children were taken into care in Portugal after the pair allegedly drank themselves into a stupor could face a social services investigation when they return home, it emerged yesterday.

Eamon and Antoinette McGuckin were apparently so intoxicated they passed out in their hotel in the Algarve resort of Vilamoura, leaving staff to care for their one-year-old son, two-year-old daughter and six-year-old son. The couple, from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, are waiting to hear if they will be charged with negligence and abandonment after the alleged incident on Friday.

If found guilty, they could be jailed for between two and five years, but a judicial source in Faro said he did not think the case was serious enough to warrant prosecution. The “most likely outcome”, he added, was that the file would be passed to the relevant UK authorities, including social services, for investigation.

The case papers were sent to the public prosecutor at the Family and Children’s Court in Faro for consideration yesterday. A source close to the couple said they expected to attend court later this week to be questioned about their alleged behaviour. After Mr McGuckin, 34, a banking executive, and his wife, 32, collapsed in the foyer and bar of their hotel they were taken to a health centre while their children were taken into care.
The couple discharged themselves from hospital on Saturday morning and went to the police before being re-united with their children after the public attorney ruled they should be returned.

Mr McGuckin’s brother, Cahal, said it was very unlike the couple to behave in such a manner. “I can tell you that my brother and his wife are extremely popular and successful people in their close knit community,” he said. ”They live for their family and allegations like the ones we are hearing at the moment are utterly out of keeping with the people we know.”